March 05, 2005

Cases against ex-Naples priest settled for $1.5 million

Naples Daily News

March 5, 2005

South Florida's Catholic hierarchy paid out about $1.5 million in recent months to settle three sexual misconduct cases targeting a former priest and teacher at the St. Ann Catholic parish in Naples.

The lawyer who handled the cases suspects there are potential victims yet to break their silence about William Romero's time at St. Ann school and church in 1975-76.

He said the Archdiocese of Miami, which included St. Ann during Romero's year there, hasn't thoroughly probed what transpired.

"If nobody else comes forward, it will mean that this episode in the history of Naples and the history of the Catholic Church never gets fully investigated," said Ted Zelman, the Naples attorney who represented clients in Romero sexual misconduct cases. "I believe they acknowledge what had happened but as far as really accepting their culpability, that didn't occur."

His two clients recently opted to settle to forgo shame of reliving the alleged abuse in a courtroom, he said.

Romero, 68, retired in 1995 and resigned from the clergy in 2003 after allegations resurfaced.

Posted by kshaw at March 5, 2005 02:56 AM